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Maryland Morning with host Tom Hall aired its final broadcast on September 16, 2016. Programs airing from 10/15 - 9/16/16 can be found below.  Tom is now hosting Midday which can be found here.

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CNN

The Republican National Convention has come to a close and now it's the Democrats' turn. The Democratic National Convention begins today in Philadelphia and will continue until Thursday. 

After much speculation, Hillary Clinton on Friday evening officially announced that her vice-presidential running mate will be Virginia Senator and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine.

Joining Tom in the studio to discuss what issues -- and controversies -- we can expect to play out at this year's convention are two astute political observers: Sheri Parks is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland College Park. Michael Higginbotham is a professor of law at University of Baltimore School of Law.

Photo by Laurie Sentman Starkey

Once a week, theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in the studio to review some of the best local and regional theater productions. This morning, she's talking Spamalot, the Tony Award-winning musical based on the 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The satirical and unrepentantly silly tale, based loosely on the King Arthur legend, is directed by Laurie Starkey, with book and lyrics by legendary Python co-founder Eric Idle, and music by John Du Prez. 

Spamalot is on stage now through July 31st at the College Community Center Mainstage Theater, at Cockpit in Court Summer Theater, 7201 Rossville Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21237.  For ticket information, click here.

Jessy Gross

It’s time for another installment of Living Questions, a monthly series in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. This series is being produced in partnership with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies.

Rabbi Jessy Gross is the Senior Director of Jewish Life at the Baltimore Jewish Community Center, and the founder of the Charm City Tribe, a group of Jewish millennials. She joins Tom in-studio to talk about the way millennials are exercising their faith. Rabbi Gross was recently named one of "America’s Most Inspiring Rabbis” by The Forward Magazine.  

CNN

Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination for president Thursday night, after a solid majority of delegates from around the country cast their votes for him earlier in the week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

It was a roller-coaster convention. On Monday, party leaders blocked a noisy anti-Trump delegate challenge to the rules binding them to vote for Mr. Trump.  Later that evening,  Mr. Trump's wife, Melania, gave the keynote address. News media were soon abuzz with reports that her address had plagiarized two passages from Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. The Trump Organization released an official statement on Wednesday explaining that speech writer Meredith McIver accidentally incorporated excerpts from Obama's speech into Mrs. Trump's address.

Mickey Welsh

Tomorrow, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture will be hosting Fades and Fellowship. The space has been re-imagined to look like a traditional African-American barbershop where twelve barbers, including Dr. Martin Luther King's barber Nelson Malden, will share the stories and insights they've gleaned from their years working in barbershops.

A longtime staple of the black community, barbershops are places where black men come together to discuss and debate complex issues from racism to relationships.  

Mr. Malden joins Tom in-studio along with Fades and Fellowship co-creator, Darius Wilmore. Darius is the co-creator and creative director of Taharka Brothers Ice Cream. Taharka is releasing a new flavor, "Fly, Fly, Blackbird" in celebration of the event. 

Snyder/Reuters

It’s the third day of a Republican National Convention that has been nothing short of eventful. Delegates have convened in Cleveland to set the party’s agenda and declare Donald Trump the official Republican presidential nominee. 

On opening day, delegates who were unhappy with the rules committee’s decision to reject a vote to unbind delegate votes, launched a last effort protest on the convention floor. If that was not enough, Melania Trump, Donald Trump’s wife, is facing allegations that she lifted sections of her RNC speech from a speech Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention. 

Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun

On Monday, Judge Barry Williams acquitted Lt. Brian Rice of all charges related to the 2015 arrest and death of Freddie Gray. Rice faced charges of voluntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Prosecutors dropped a second misconduct charge at the beginning of the trial and Judge Williams dismissed a second-degree assault charge half-way through the trial. 

Lt. Rice, who is the highest ranking officer charged in connection to Freddie Gray’s death, is the third officer to be acquitted of all charges. 

StopProcrastinating.com

We all know that the food choices we make each day can help us keep off the pounds, feel more energy, help our bodies fight infections, or even reduce our risk of cancer. In this month’s Smart Nutrition segment, we’re going to consider diet's impact on a part of us we don't usually associate with food – our brains.

Monica Reinagel is a licensed nutritionist who blogs about diet and health at NutritionOverEasy.com and other online sites.  She joins Tom this morning to talk about an experimental diet that might be able to keep our brains healthy and sharp as we age, and maybe even protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Liz Copeland

 

The Republican National Convention kicks off in Cleveland today. After blocking an attempt by anti-Trump insurgents to unbind the delegate votes, party officials will convene to declare Donald Trump the official Republican presidential nominee. Last week, Trump chose Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate.

Earlier this year, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford both said they would not be voting for or endorsing Trump

Liz Copeland is the president and founder of Urban Conservative Project, a self-described "coalition of moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats, and Independents." Copeland was a candidate in the Republican Primary for the First District Baltimore City Council seat. She joins Tom in the studio to talk about the down-ticket implications of a Donald Trump candidacy, and what some political analysts have called the “battle for the soul of the Republican Party.”    

Marian House

There are an estimated 2,500 people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to some advocates for the homeless, that number could go up due to recent funding changes from HUD. 

In May, HUD decided to discontinue grants to 19 of 21 Baltimore-based homeless services providers. The cuts are part of an overall move by HUD to shift support away from transitional housing towards permanent housing solutions.   Marian House is one of the 19 programs affected by the cuts. In addition to providing shelter, the transitional housing program offers rehabilitation services, life skills training, job readiness and employment assistance to women and children experiencing homelessness.  Katie Allston is the Executive Director of Marian House. Jan Mitchell is an alumna of the program. They join Tom in-studio to talk about why transitional housing programs are important and how the recent cuts will impact Marian House. 

Photo by Seth Freeman, CATF 2016

For this week's review, our theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck traveled, as she has every year for more than two decades, to Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, host for the annual Contemporary American Theater Festival.  For the Festival's 2016 season, five new plays are being staged in a rotating repertory:   pen/man/ship, by Christina Anderson; Not Medea, by Allison Gregory; The Wedding Gift, by Chisa Hutchinson; 20th Century Blues, by Susan Miller; and The Second Girl, by Ronan Noone.  Notable this year is that four of the five plays are by women playwrights; three of the plays are having their world premieres.  

J. Wynn Rousuck talks with host Tom Hall about some of the standout features of this repertory feast.

[Full disclosure from J. Wynn Rousuck: She and playwright Christina Anderson were fellow students in the graduate playwriting program at Brown University in 2007-2008.]

Photo from CDC.gov

Dr. Leana Wen is Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner, and she joins us here on Maryland Morning each month for our Healthwatch segment -- conversations about issues affecting the health and well-being of Charm City residents.

In today's program, Dr. Wen talks with Tom about the national epidemic of gun violence, much of it involving young people, and why her campaign to combat this scourge has become such an urgent public health challenge. Dr. Wen made a similar case in her presentation at last month's 5th National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, held here in Baltimore. 

Dr. Wen  laments US Congressional failure in recent legislation to increase funding for opioid addiction treatment programs.  She also describes the steps the city is taking to protect against the Zika virus.

And with temperatures in Baltimore soaring into the 90s this week, Dr. Wen has some important advice for staying safe during the heat wave.  

Mark Hyman

    

It's been a big week for the Orioles after five players went to the All-Star Game in San Diego. Over the last five seasons, the Orioles have sent more players to the game than any American League team.

Plus, the Olympics are set to begin on Aug. 5 and big name players are dropping out of the games to avoid threats of the Zika virus. How will it impact this year's competition?

Our resident sports guy, Mark Hyman, joins Tom in-studio to discuss the latest in sports. Mark is on the faculty of George Washington University, and he's the author of several books, including Concussions and Our Kids.

Katie Piper and Karl Ferguson Jr

Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the country, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. This weekend, more than 350,000 festival goers will flood the streets to take in the music, art, theater and fashion presented during the three-day event. 

Grammy-winning artist Wyclef Jean is one of this year’s headliners.  Wyclef joins Tom to talk about his Artscape performance, his upcoming album Carnival III, Road To Clefication and his 2010 presidential run in his native country Haiti. Wyclef also weighs in on the racial tension gripping the country, the Black Lives Matter movement and what he says is an institutional problem within the criminal justice system. 

Maryland.gov

In our occasional series Focus on the Countieswe've been talking with Maryland county executives about how they're addressing the needs and concerns of the region's residents.  In today's program, Tom is joined in the studio by Anne Arundel County Executive Steven R. Schuh.

Schuh  was  sworn  in as Anne Arundel's 9th County Executive on December 1, 2014, after defeating incumbent Laura Neuman in the Republican primary and defeating former three-term Sheriff George Johnson in the General Election.

The 55-year-old Baltimore native and long-time Anne Arundel County resident holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from Dartmouth College. Schuh holds two Master's degrees – a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Education from Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University, respectively.  He is the father of two college-age children.

Before his election as County Executive, Schuh served two terms in the Maryland General Assembly as the Republican representative of District 31, which includes Pasadena, and parts of Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Park.

(left) Miriam Berkely

James Magruder's Love Slaves Of Helen Hadley Hall tells the story, through the medium of a ghostly narrator, of a group of reckless Yale graduate students trying to find themselves in the early 1980s. Magruder draws on his own experiences as a grad student at Yale to create characters who are more obsessed with their messy love lives than their graduate studies. 

The book takes place during the 1983-84 school year, just as the HIV/AIDS epidemic was beginning in the United States. Magruder, who is living with HIV, says he wanted to revisit a time of innocence and "unsafety" right before HIV changed the way young people approach their relationships.  Baltimore native James Magruder joins Tom in-studio to discuss Love Slaves Of Helen Hadley Hall.  

David Y. Lee

When people are arrested and brought to jail in the United states, they usually have to pay cash bail in order to be released from detention before their trial. Studies show that more than 3 out of every 5 people arrested remain behind bars – unconvicted – because they can’t raise the often sizeable sums of money needed to pay their bail.

“Punishing the Poor” is the theme of a special photography exhibition organized by the non-profit Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the PreTrial Justice Institute that spotlights the plight of pretrial detainees and the urgent need for reform of the nation's broken cash bail system.  The photo show, which opens with a public reception this Wednesday from 5:30 to 7pm at the Living Well, is called #unconvicted.  You can see some of the photos here.

In the studio with Tom this morning to talk about the exhibition and what’s being done to reform the nation’s cash bail system is Tara Huffman, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice program. Joining them by phone is Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute, or PJI, a Maryland-based advocacy and training agency supported by the Department of Justice and independent foundations to promote reform in local and national pretrial services.

Princeton, Lester Spence

People across the country are trying to make sense of last week's shooting by the police of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, and the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful rally. 

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, who is African-American, was shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge after police say they received an anonymous call about an unidentified man with a gun outside of a convenience store. Sterling was shot outside the store after an encounter with two officers. The officers can be seen in a video, taken by a bystander, on top of Sterling before shots were fired. Both officers are white. Louisiana is an open carry state and police say Sterling had a gun in his pocket. Witnesses say Sterling never reached for the gun during the encounter. 

On Wednesday, Philando Castile, who is also African-American, was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights during a traffic stop. According to Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, Castile was reaching for his wallet and disclosed to the officer that he had a pistol on him he was licensed to carry. Reynolds says the officer then said, ‘don’t move' and as Castile was putting his hands back up, the officer shot him in the arm. Reynolds live streamed a video of the immediate aftermath for 10 minutes. When the video starts, you can see Castile in the driver seat, his shirt covered in blood, with the officer's gun still pointed at him.

Teresa Castracane

The Alexandre Dumas classic, The Three Musketeers, has found new  life in the forests of Ellicott City. The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company puts a fresh spin on the classic tale of runaway D'Artagnan as he ventures through 17th century France with the legendary three musketeers of the King's court: Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in-studio with her review of the live-action outdoor performance.  

And she waxes poetic about how the experience was, truly, tempest-tossed by the vagaries of weather.

Maryland.gov

In another installment of Focus on the Counties, Tom speaks with Howard County executive Allan Kittleman

Kittleman was elected in 2014, before that he represented the 9th District in the Maryland Senate for 10 years. 

Over the last 15 years, Howard County’s population has grown by 26 percent. Kittleman discusses how the county is addressing transit and education concerns brought on by the influx of people. He also talks about new business and affordable housing initiatives being rolled out in Columbia. 

Kittleman, who is a Republican,  weighs in on the future of the Republican party, why he won't attend the Convention this time around, and his decision  not to endorse Donald Trump. 

MATTHEW MURPHY

The Tony Award-winning musical production of The Bridges of Madison County is now playing at The Kennedy Center. 

The 1992 book of the same name spent three years on the New York Times best-seller list and was made into a movie in 1995 starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Bridges tells the story of Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson and her whirlwind, forbidden romance with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid. Composer Jason Robert Brown won a Tony Award in 2014 for the musical’s original score.  Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom in-studio to give her take on The Bridges of Madison County.

ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION. BALTIMORE'S PROMISE

Baltimore‘s Promise is a consortium of civic leaders from government, philanthropy, business, education, and religious institutions who are trying to address the multiple challenges faced by many children in the city of Baltimore.

There is no shortage of well-meaning people and programs aimed at improving outcomes for kids. But what programs and strategies best meet the needs of a city where a quarter of children live below the poverty line?

Patrick McCarthy is co-chair of Baltimore’s Promise and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Tomi Hiers is the Executive Director of Baltimore’s Promise. They both join Tom in-studio to discuss the best ways to improve the journey on what’s been coined the “cradle to career continuum.”

Wide Angle Youth Media

Every year, the Baltimore Speaks Out Program -- a project of the non-profit Wide Angle Youth Media -- teaches about 90 young people between the ages of 10 and 15 how to use digital media to tell their own stories and to engage with their communities. This year, the students have created a series of radio and video stories about food, culture and tradition in Baltimore, some of which we’ve been pleased to share with you on Maryland Morning. Here’s their latest radio report on the amazing ethnic diversity to be found in Belvedere Square, a popular Baltimore food market.

THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION

Kathleen Isaacs' new book, Excellent Books for Early and Eager Readers (published by The American Library Association), recommends books to parents and educators seeking intriguing, age-appropriate reading for children. Isaacs offers 300 book recommendations that are meant to challenge, but not overwhelm, children aged 4-10. The book offerings range in topics from non-fiction and short stories to picture books and mythology.

Baltimore City Council

The new fiscal year in Baltimore City begins today. After weeks of contention with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the City Council voted to approve the budget on June 20th. 

Council members, including the City Council president Jack Young and Helen Holton, who represents the 8th district and chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee, threatened to shut down the city government by not approving the budget if $4.2 million for after-school programs was not restored in the budget. While the mayor eventually decided to put the money back, funding cuts had to made in areas of infrastructure, anti-litter programs and to the Enoch Pratt Library.

Brandon Scott, who represents the District 2 on the council, and Helen Holton join Tom in-studio to discuss the budget approval process and the city council’s collaboration with the mayor. 

Photo by David Gallagher, Creative Commons

July brings a wave of summer blockbuster releases from Hollywood and independent filmmakers, and area movie theaters are humming with big crowds taking in the explosive action, the romance, the intrigue, the silliness and the special effects – and of course, the popcorn and air conditioning.  But if all that showbiz spectacle doesn’t appeal, there’s a great alternative: a slew of new documentaries: true (or mostly true) stories compellingly told, whose subjects range from turn-of-the-century medical charlatans and competitive ticklers to visionary television producers and disgraced politicians. 

This morning, for our first-Friday-of-the-month Movie Mayhem segment, Tom’s joined in the studio by our favorite movie mavens: Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, and Jed Dietz, founder and executive director of the Maryland Film Festival.  They talk about the many superb documentaries being released this summer: some at the recent American Film Institute’s AFI Docs Festival in DC, others that are in theaters now or coming soon.  They focus on a few of the best new docs:  Nuts (and director Penny Lane's 2013 doc, Our Nixon); Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You; Kate Plays Christine; Tickled; Life Animated; and Weiner. There's also a nod to Dheepan, the dramatic tale of a Sri Lankan immigrant struggling to survive in France, and winner of the Palme D'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival.

Photo by Rob Sivak

This week, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation has convened two groups of emerging arts leaders for workshops around the idea of combating bigotry. The Undoing Racism workshop explores how institutional racism has come to be firmly ensconced in American culture, and what it will take to get rid of it.

The workshop is presented by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Trainers from the organization, which is based in New Orleans, travel around the country facilitating the workshop is various cities with the hope of dismantling the power systems that perpetuate race inequality. 

Kimberley Richards and Rachael Ibrahim, trainers from the People's Institute and A. Adar Ayira, a local artist and poet who is on the advisory board of Baltimore Racial Justice Action, all join Tom in-studio to discuss the impact of individual behavior on advancing or attenuating bigotry in institutions across the spectrum of American life, and ways in which racism can be undone.

Jessica Anya Blau

Just in time for the summer, Jessica Anya Blau is back with a new book The Trouble with Lexie. Lexie, the book’s protagonist, is a counselor at an elite private school in New England. Things get wild when her search for happiness lands her in some unexpected trouble. 

Jessica joins Tom in-studio to talk about The Trouble with Lexie, her writing process and seeing herself in her characters. 

Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies

It’s time for another installment of Living Questions, a monthly series of conversations in which we examine the role of religion in the public sphere. 

Dr. Christopher Leighton is retiring after more than 30 years as executive director of the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, a nonprofit organization that promotes religious tolerance.  Dr. Leighton's successor at the helm of ICJS is Dr. Heather Miller Rubens.  A specialist in Roman Catholic affairs, she and Dr. Leighton join Tom in-studio to reflect on the group's legacy and its mission going forward. 

Then, the discussion turns to the dark challenge posed by religious extremism, one of the apparent motivating forces behind the Orlando mass shooting, the Paris attacks and other recent acts of terror. Dr. Homayra Ziad, an Islamic scholar at ICJS, and Dr. Benjamin Sax, the group's Jewish scholar, join Tom, Dr. Leighton and Dr. Rubens to discuss how people of faith should respond to acts of violence carried out in the name of God, and how communities of faith can work to counter emerging cultures of hate. 

Olney Theatre Center

If you didn’t know that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote “Evita” four decades ago, you might think this musical about the role of celebrity in politics was brand new.

The idea of a celebrity running for office is the overriding theme of Olney Theatre Center’s re-imagined, eye-opening production of this musical look at the life of former Argentine first lady Eva Peron.

Unlike director Harold Prince’s original interpretation of the show as an examination of media manipulation, at Olney we see Evita manufacturing her own fame and using it to catapult her husband, Juan Peron, to the presidency.

A microphone on a stand becomes a major prop in director Will Davis’ inspired interpretation. Commandeer the mike, get into power, win over the people – as Evita does – and you can tell them just about anything.

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